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Definitions on the web:
Marriage law refers to the legal requirements which determine the validity of a marriage, which vary considerably between countries.
The legal status, condition, or relationship that results from a contract by which one man and one woman, who have the capacity to enter into such an agreement, mutually promise to live together in the relationship of Husband and Wife in law for life, or until the legal termination of the relationship.
Marriage is a legally sanctioned contract between a man and a woman. Entering into a marriage contract changes the legal status of both parties, giving husband and wife new rights and obligations. Public policy is strongly in favour of marriage based on the belief that it preserves the family unit. Traditionally, marriage has been viewed as vital to the preservation of morals and civilization.
The traditional principle upon which the institution of marriage is founded is that a husband has the obligation to support a wife, and that a wife has the duty to serve. In the past, this has meant that the husband has the duty to provide a safe house, to pay for necessities such as food and clothing, and to live in the house. A wife's obligation has traditionally entailed maintaining a home, living in the home, having sexual relations with her husband, and rearing the couple's children. Changes in society have modified these marital roles to a considerable degree as married women have joined the workforce in large numbers, and more married men have become more involved in child rearing.
Marriage is the joining of a male and female in matrimony by a person qualified by law to perform the ceremony (a minister, priest, judge, justice of the peace, or some similar official), after having obtained a valid marriage license (which requires a blood test for venereal disease in about a third of the states and a waiting period from one to five days in several). The standard age for marriage without parental consent is 18 except for Georgia and Wyoming where it is 16, Rhode Island where women can marry at 16, and Mississippi in which it is 17 for boys and 15 for girls. More than half the states allow marriages at lesser ages with parental consent, going as low as 14 for both sexes in Alabama, Texas and Utah. Marriages in which the age requirements are not met can be annulled. Fourteen states recognize so-called "common law marriages" which establish a legal marriage for people who have lived together by agreement as husband and wife for a lengthy period of time without legal formalities.